|Revision Date||September 23, 2022|
Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) are non-financial agreements. DFPS enters into MOUs with external parties or stakeholders when no money is exchanged, and no invoices are generated.
MOUs provide details on how DFPS and the other Party will coordinate or collaborate to fulfill expectations. An MOU may be initiated by DFPS or an outside person or entity and may be referred to as “letters of agreement," “Memorandum of Agreement” (MOA), or “cooperation agreements.”
While MOUs do not involve the exchange of funds, the DFPS Contract Signature Authority and Delegation matrix must be followed.
Designated Point of Contact Responsibilities
- Initiate the MOU, as applicable, or act as the point of contact for MOUs that are created by the other Party;
- Route for review by programmatic subject matter experts and designees;
- Route for legal review, if needed;
- Route to the signature authority;
- Ensure the MOU is revised as needed;
- Ensure DFPS is performing responsibilities as outlined;
- Act as the DFPS subject matter expert or liaison to the subject matter expert;
- Ensure the MOU is saved and tracked by the program area; and
- Facilitate amendments, renewals, or termination as needed.
Elements of an MOU
Either DFPS or the other Party can initiate an MOU.
If DFPS initiates the MOU, DFPS staff should use the 4514MOU template which contains the recommended elements of an MOU. If the other Party initiates the MOU, DFPS staff must review the content to ensure that the MOU includes the following:
- Introductory paragraph that includes the names of the Parties;
- Purpose: A general statement that outlines the broad purpose of the agreement;
- Term of the agreement: Start and end date;
- Termination: The MOU should allow for termination by either Party with a 30-day notice to the other Party;
- Responsibilities or Cooperation: The individual and joint activities performed by each Party;
- Public Information Act;
- Point of Contact for each Party;
- Signatories, see DFPS Contract Signature Authority and Delegation.
Elements that may need to be included when applicable
- Annual Review: Point of contact reviews the MOU annually to ensure the needs of each Party are being met and updates the MOU as needed.
- Amendments and Renewals
- Renewal: A renewal is completed through a bilateral amendment. The option to renew may include changes to the terms and conditions to ensure the agreement continues to meet business and client needs but cannot alter the scope.
- Amendments: Changes to the MOU must be in writing and can be executed by unilateral or bilateral amendment. A bilateral amendment is necessary if there is an essential change to the terms of the contract that require both parties to agree. A unilateral amendment may be used for administrative changes such as updating a point of contact or correcting a clerical error.
- Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information clause must be included in MOUs that involve the sharing or exchange of confidential or personally identifiable information. For example, DFPS staff provides confidential or personally identifiable information to the other Party or the other Party accesses this information through DFPS files or systems.
- Information Security Requirements clause must be included in MOUs that allow the other Party to access DFPS systems or provide Sensitive Information identified in the DFPS Data and System Security Requirements. This includes the provision that the other Party must comply with the DFPS Data and System Security Requirements, which is incorporated by reference.
- Attachments: Any documents intended to be a part of the MOU should be attached and incorporated by reference.
Types of MOUs
State MOUs are agreements regarding state-level DFPS policy, programs, or practices. State MOUs may include one or more state agencies or other DFPS stakeholders including institutions of higher education who may conduct research involving DFPS staff, clients, or information. Some state MOUs are required by statute.
Regional MOUs are agreements specific to regional DFPS policy, programs, or practice. The activities outlined in the MOU are carried out at the regional level. Some regional MOUs are required by statute.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC)
- Local CASA programs
- Local domestic violence centers
- Various local partners and providers
- Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation (HTCE) MOUs that involve activities carried out at the regional level. (Note, all HTCE regional MOUs must be sent to the State Office HTCE division at HumanTraficking@dfps.texas.gov for review. The State Office HTCE division will seek legal review when needed.
Regional agreements that involve the exchange of data, other than releasable reports from the DFPS Data Warehouse, are handled by State Office . Data may include, but may not be limited to, confidential or personally identifiable information and data that is available by access to DFPS computer or network systems and applications.
See Operating Policy CE-1102, Release of Data to External Requestors for requirements to release DFPS data to external parties.
Memorandums of Agreement
DFPS State Office also enters into non-financial agreements for Title IV-E County Welfare Board (4510NFCCWS) and Non-Financial Residential Child Care (RCC) services (4515RCC). These agreements are managed in the same way as a financial contract. Questions regarding these agreements should be sent to DFPSLegalContracts@dfps.texas.gov.
Type of MOU
Point of Contact
|State Office MOU (to include grant related MOUs) or Letters of Commitment (LOC)||State Office staff||Required by State Office Policy Legal||Associate Commissioner or designee if permitted by the program or division.|
|Regional/Local MOU||Regional or district staff for the designated program area (e.g., CPI MOUs are signed by the regional CPI signatory)||Required by regional attorneys. Regions may request review by State Office Policy Legal if there are specific questions concerning the MOU.||Regional or District Directors|
MOU Review and Approval Process
- If the MOU is initiated by the other Party, review and ensure DFPS recommended elements are included.
- If necessary, work with the other Party to include all DFPS required and applicable elements to the MOU before execution.
- If the MOU is initiated by DFPS, the point of contact uses Form 4514MOU to draft the MOU.
- Legal Review, if required or needed by the point of contact (see chart above)
- Route to DFPSPolicyLegal@dfps.texas.gov for review.
- Signature Authority
- Route to the applicable signature authority for approval.
- Use Form 2044 MOU Routing Form or DFPS 515 to capture approvals.
- A copy of the executed MOU and 2044 MOU Routing Form or DFPS 515 must be sent to Contract Oversight and Support (COS).
- Email copy to DFPSContractForms@dfps.texas.gov
- Subject line
- [Enter name of other Party] MOU [date signed]
- Example: Big Brothers Big Sisters MOU -9/1/18)
- Unless otherwise documented in the body of the email, the DFPS staff person submitting the MOU is noted as the point of contact.
- Tracking MOUs
- The point of contact is responsible for maintaining a copy of the executed MOU and must ensure program area tracks the MOU.
Best Practice: MOUs may be uploaded and maintained in SCOR. If the MOU is uploaded to SCOR, then the DFPS point of contact does not have to send a copy of the executed MOU to the COS forms mailbox.
Legal Review Requirements
A review by Policy Legal in State Office does not change the designated signature authority. All MOUs must follow the DFPS Contract Signature Authority and Delegation.
- All State MOUs must be sent to DFPSPolicyLegal@dfps.texas.gov for review by Policy Legal in State Office.
- Grant related Letters of Commitment (LOCs) must be reviewed by Policy Legal in State Office.
- Regional MOUs must be reviewed by a regional attorney. If Regional Attorneys have concerns regarding an MOU, they should provide it to State Office Policy Legal for review. Regional MOUs require State Office Policy Legal review when the:
- Other Party to the MOU is located outside of Texas;
- MOU allows the other Party to access DFPS data systems or involves exchange of data;
- MOU may conflict with statewide policy, practice, or law;
- MOU involves the sharing of office space;
- MOU changes the master MOU approved in State Office and intended to be used with certain types of other parties, such as CASA, domestic violence centers, Child Without Placement, or Research MOUs;
- MOU involves human trafficking or child exploitation activities; or
- The subject matter expert or point of contact responsible for the MOU has any questions or concerns that cannot be addressed by regional, local, or state program staff.